Moment of certainty – A certain waste of time

I’ll talk about Justin’s King’s revolution at Sainsbury’s quite a lot in this blog, before he took over it really was a basket case. I worked in one of their stores in a good role and the job was very difficult, deliveries were literally all over the place due to a genius idea dreamt up by a head office bod. The moment of certainty therefore, was near pointless.

JS’ ordering system was like any other, it needed updating daily to ensure that the inventories were kept up to date, before the system was updated to use the PDA’s, it printed off reams and reams of paper for counting, someone’s bright idea was to reduce this counting by only scanning low levels and out of stocks twice per week (Weds and Sunday) which meant counts would be done Monday morning and Thursday morning.

This meant inventories soon went haywire, they need to be kept in line by continual counting as there are too many variables that can alter the system inventory and mean that the re-order doesn’t happen which leads to poor availability and off sales.

This bright “idea” led to the empty shelves and poor availability that plagued Sainsbury’s for years. One of the first changes that Justin and the team brought in was 7 day SAC’ing (Availability) and SEW’ing (overstocks) which resolved the inventory issues and allowed the stores to look beyond when there were continual out of stocks (was it even available at depot?, forecast too low etc).

Thankfully, one of the things that was also stopped was the moment of certainty. This was a quite ridiculous idea no doubt invented by a lazy regional ops manager who fancied a day on the golf course rather than visiting stores. Basically the duty manager had to send an email at 830 and 5 to say that the store was operational and ready for trade.

Quite what this meant was unbeknown to most, did it mean that the roof was still on the store? It had opened at 8 as it was supposed to? I doubt very much it went down to the level of ensuring that the top 500 items were all on sale and in stock.

Another bizarre Sainsbury’s idea that was rightfully binned, I imagine it rapidly became a joke to send the moment of certainty at 830 and 5 and more importantly it took management away from the shop floor to send what was a largely pointless email.

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Grocery Insight provide market insight on the UK sector with a focus on individual retailers such as Tesco. This insight is useful to various stakeholders and due to my store based focus. Insight can be delivered to suppliers to focus on growth opportunities, analysts and investors to assess the business performance and long term outlook and retailers themselves to assess best practice. 

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